Tucked away in a quiet location in the West Village, Louro (which means bay leaf in Portuguese) is a cozy and sophisticated restaurant featuring a creative take on New American cuisine. The restaurant is spacious but feels intimate, making it perfect for groups of all sizes, with a long common table in the back that can accommodate larger groups. There is Happy Hour every Tuesday to Sunday from 5:30 to 7:30pm, with complimentary Portuguese-inspired bar snacks provided with every drink order, along with $1 oysters and $8 cocktails.
Every Monday night, Louro hosts the Nossa Mesa Supper Club, a prix fixe dinner that features a different theme every week. Past themes include an ingredient-inspired all Uni dinner and a Marvel comic’s dinner. The Supper Club started out in Chef David Santos’ Roosevelt apartment as a dining club, Um Segredo, and has since been introduced to Louro. Following supper club tradition, this Monday night event is always BYOB. NYU Spoon was invited to the Oyster Bowl night this week and had the chance to be a part of a fun dining experience with the Nossa Mesa Supper Club.
We were first introduced to the house specialty cocktails, which were a great start to the gastronomic night. The cocktail list features a selection of citrus drinks, for those who prefer something light and fresh for an aperitif, to a range of bourbon and whiskey based drinks, which are perfect for a post-dinner digéstif.
For starters, Santos draws upon his Portuguese background to present us with freshly baked bread and house-made “Portuguese butter.” Made with black pepper suckling pig drippings infused with garlic, butter has never tasted so sinful yet so fragrant.
The “Natural State” was a delightful appetizer. The oysters tasted fresh out of the water and the citrus granite served as a refreshing complement.
Perhaps the most popular dish of the night, the “Barely Touched” featured West Coast oysters on top of a bed of slightly spicy greens that included pickled cucumbers and tempura watercress. The flavorful oysters were paired with crisp and juicy chunks of pork belly and a light vinaigrette – fish sauce, sesame oil and coriander – that gave the dish a nice Asian flare.
Upon the first taste, the oyster chowder resembles a traditional Taiwan oyster mee sua (vermicelli), but the bits of potato and bacon at the bottom of the bowl bring to mind a more traditional New England clam chowder. With oysters instead of clams, this dish has a much more refined flavor than typical clam chowder. Aptly named The Twist, this chowder delicately balances both Eastern and Western cuisine and is perfect for a cold winter night.
Next up was the oyster tortellini, which was served in oyster butter and truffle celery root puree. The oyster takes a back seat in this dish as the addicting taste of truffle is infused with each bite. Each tortellini was stuffed with minced oyster and ricotta cheese, giving a hearty burst of flavor. The harmony of pasta, oyster, and truffle leaves a lingering after taste that makes this dish memorable.
The “Nola Oyster Po’ Boy” showcased fried oysters with aioli and pickled onions atop charred crostini. This dish drew both sweet and sour tastes due to the sweet onions and tomato paste accompaniments.
Dessert was a pecan pie with a classic Santos twist. Instead of a normal piecrust, Santos brings together peanut butter crumble, molasses pudding, pecans and vanilla ice cream to create a dessert that will keep even those without a sweet tooth coming back for more. This new take on a classic dessert has recently been introduced added to the main dessert menu and is a sure winner.
Indeed, Chef Santos has accomplished what he set out to achieve – to excite and inspire his guests through unexpected and distinctive dishes with surprising results. He puts together familiar ingredients in new and interesting ways that are rarely seen elsewhere. The best part? His creative and fun dishes pass with flying colors in offering guests a novel experience that leaves them satisfied while changing their perspective on dining.
The selection of dishes for the Oyster Bowl was on point, with every dish satisfying the guests in its own unique way. With more creative Supper Club themes to come, such as “A Denizen Rum Dinner” and “Nonna’s Italian Feast”, there is bound to be a night for everyone. Louro is also having a Valentine’s Day “Tragic Love Stories” menu February 13 through February 15 for those on the search for a fun-filled evening and great food with their significant other.
Location: 142 W 10th Street (bet Greenwich and Waverly)
Hours of Operation: Tues–Sun: 5:30pm to 11pm, Monday: Nossa Mesa dinners at 7pm (BYOB)